Luke Bryan struggled to respond to Garth Brooks' announcement that he wishes to permanently remove himself from Entertainer of the Year consideration at the CMA Awards, but had no trouble naming two artists he feels are overdue for a win in this category.

Bryan, a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year himself, makes it clear that the award means something to him, but at this point, simply being nominated feels like winning.

"I truly believe that when I won, I was deserving," Bryan — whose new Born Here Live Here Die Here album drops on Aug. 7 — says. "Hell, I really felt like the best entertainer that year. And there's been years where I felt like the best entertainer and I didn't win, but that's just the way it goes."

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Bryan won the award in 2014 and 2015, while Brooks has won three of four years since, giving him seven total — a record. But due to controversy over last year's win, the Hall of Famer decided he doesn't want to be considered any longer, admitting even he fully expected Carrie Underwood to win last November. The "One Margarita" singer would seemingly agree.

"My thought is, if we go for some long period of time and Carrie Underwood never wins a CMA Entertainer of the Year, that's quite disturbing for me, because she's definitely ... she's done everything you can do to win, in my opinion," Bryan says.

He adds: "And that goes for Eric (Church)."

Neither Underwood nor Church has ever won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards. She has been nominated twice (2016 and 2019), while Church been up for it three times (2015, 2017, 2019). Bryan, Church and Underwood are all signed to the same record label, UMG Nashville.

Underwood and Church fans were particularly upset their artist didn't win the night's big prize in 2019. Both are candidates to be nominees again in 2020, but the actual nominations won't be revealed for several more weeks. Bryan may also get a nomination, and Brooks could, too. While he says he doesn't want to be considered, there is nothing stopping CMA members from voting for him.

Born Here Live Here Die Here is Bryan's seventh studio album and includes No. 1 hits in "One Margarita," "Knockin' Boots" and "What She Wants Tonight." The 10-track album also features a touch story of a boy whose father died, called "Build Me a Daddy."

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